News Releases

APRIL 16, 2017

Library Strand of Future Ready Institutes Developed, Funded Exclusively Through Follett Project Connect

Eight Free Regional Institutes to Provide Valuable Professional Development, Networking Opportunities for Educators Looking to Personalize Learning for Students

MCHENRY, ILFuture Ready Schools® (FRS) this week announced a series of free regional events to support educators planning to implement personalized learning strategies for their students. This student-centered approach tailors instruction to students’ unique strengths and needs while engaging them in challenging, standards-based academic content.

The eight “institutes” – beginning July 13 in Denver and ending Nov. 30 in Detroit – include personal professional development opportunities for district leaders, IT directors, principals, librarians and media specialists, as well as teacher leaders and instructional coaches.

The institutes are generously supported by four education partners, including Follett, which initially announced its support in December 2015 of FRS, an initiative developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Follett is supporting FRS on behalf of Project Connect’s work to bring librarians into the Future Ready Schools program. Project Connect is a national initiative to advocate for school libraries and elevate the role of the librarian in K-12 schools.

The librarian strand of the FRS Institutes will be created and facilitated by Mark Ray and Shannon McClintock Miller. Ray is director of innovation and library services for Vancouver (Wash.) Public Schools and a past Washington State Teacher of the Year, while Miller is a highly recognized and respected K-12 library leader who previously was a district teacher librarian in Iowa and is author of the blog, The Library Voice. Both Ray and Miller are spokespersons for Project Connect and Future Ready Librarians®.

Librarian attendance will be sponsored by Follett as well. Each FRS institute will launch ongoing regional networks of enthusiastic implementation experts who will act as mentors to support and host follow-up activities to ensure districts have the resources needed to create customized, actionable personalized learning plans.

“Follett is committed to the continued support of the Future Ready Libraries initiative because we believe librarians are critical to Future Ready Schools,” said Nader Qaimari, President, Follett School Solutions. “The institutes will provide an opportunity for school and district leaders to better understand how librarians can lead content curation and the digital transformation.”

According to Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which leads FRS, “the institutes are a powerful opportunity for educators to network with peers and learn from innovators in their own backyard who are dealing with many of the same challenges. For districts that are just starting out or are further along, FRS institutes will help educators take the next step in their journey to personalize learning for their students and become future ready.”

Registration is open to one leadership team per district at

While the 2017 FRS institutes are free, space is limited. Dates and locations are:

  • July 13-14: Denver
  • July 20-21: Albany, N.Y.
  • Aug. 3-4: Palm Springs, Calif.
  • Sept. 25-26: Indianapolis
  • Oct. 11-12: Philadelphia
  • Oct. 26-27: New Orleans
  • Nov. 14-15: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Nov. 29-30: Detroit

To learn more about the institutes, visit

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